North Devons long established Stillwater Trout Fishery Blakewell is fishing well following a major refurbishment and restocking. Quality rainbows to over 7lb providing great sport for visiting anglers.
Blakewell Fishery is a picturesque and tranquil small-water trout fishery that is located just over a mile from the market town of Barnstaple. The clear waters offer quality Fly Fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout that are stocked into double figures attracting anglers from across the region.
The fishery is best approached using a light to medium outfit (6/7wt) with floating lines and imitative patterns working throughout the year. Day Tickets are £45.00 for a five fish limit. You can book online or call Richard Nickell on 07884 073932
The venue is perfect for new comers to Fly Fishing as it is less-intimidating than larger venues that may prove off putting to those starting out. Fly Fishing tuition is available on site with resident instructors. See Website for full details. www.blakewell.co.uk
The fishing is often at its best during the winter months when the trout flourish in the cool water that flows in from Bradiford Water.
A week ago it was like summer today, it is like winter as I walk out to the Lake at Blakewell! Hail and snow flakes are driven by the icy North West Wind. A few moments later the sun is shining and the world looks a less hostile place.
I have a two fish complimentary ticket from the Christmas Competition and had not got around to using it as a result of COVID and the lake being closed so I was pleased that Richard & John allowed me to use it after several months. I had a plan to wander around the lake casting to individual fish seeing if I could spot one of the lakes doubles. The water was crystal clear but the gusty wind frequently riffled the surface making spotting fish tricky.
I fished several spots around the lake and failed to get a touch. I tried several patterns without success but did manage to spot a few trout cruising in the bay. A black bead headed lure on a long leader resulted in a twitch on the tip of the fly line. Next cast the line zipped tight and a spirited tussle followed before the fish came adrift! I checked the hook point and all was well. Next cast and again the line zipped tight….off came the trout. Third time lucky I thought when I hooked the next a couple of casts later…off it came. Still at least I had found the right fly and tactic. Ten minutes later the brace was in the bag.
Its always good when you find the right answer and yet I always wonder if the trout had simply switched on for some reason. This thought is reinforced as I walk away and notice that one of the other anglers has a well bent rod. Its mission accomplished anyway with trout for tea and spring proper on the way.
Twenty seven anglers arrived to fish Blakewell’s Annual Christmas Competition despite the pending arrival of Storm Atiyah with winds forecast to reach up to 70mph. The competition is always an enjoyable day of socializing. Many of the anglers fish this competition each year catching up on the latest gossip from the South West Angling world with stories of places visited and of fishing adventures across the world.
I always find it slightly alarming how quickly this event seems to come around as the years drift past to merge into memories. Coffees, port and greetings are exchanged before the draw. The format is well known to all the regulars with six pegs drawn with an hour to be spent at each peg rotating around the lake throughout the day. With the storm forecast John and Richard Nickell wisely decide upon a slight change to this years timetable bring the competitions close to 2.30pm With dinner closing the event enabling anglers to retreat to the warmth of the tea room as the predicted storm arrives.
At 9.30am we set off for the lake full of expectation with those first few casts often productive. I draw a peg at the top corner of the Lake and have a grandstand view across the water where I observe several bent rods within minutes of the start.
To my surprise the first hour passes without any action to my rod and I am pleased to move to a new area. I have elected to fish a black tailed marabou lure with a bright green head on the point and two spider type flies on the droppers. After twenty minutes in my second zone I hook a rainbow of around 1lb 8oz and feel relieved to get the scoreboard ticking over. Persistence over the next hour sees another three trout caught the best a very pleasing fish of 4lb.
A vicious squall suddenly sweeps across the lake. Lashing rain and hail driven by a raging wind that bends the trees and sends branches drifting down the lake. At this point some anglers appear to be ready to pack away. Others like myself grit our teeth and try to soldier on.
Fortunately the squall is short lived and sunshine once again breaks through the clouds bringing a welcome splash of light and colour to the day. I make another move and soon connect with two more trout to complete my six fish bag.
With mission complete I take a walk around the lake capturing a few fishy moments as competitors chat and share the day. By 2.30pm everyone is ready for a hot dish of chilli con-carne a mince pie and a cool beer.
Many thanks again to John and Richard Nickell for their hospitality and good humour. Hard to believe its 12 months since we heard Richards cheery patter of optimism for the coming year. Once again a steady stream of families walkaway with their Christmas trees a sense of cheery optimism in the winter air.
Blakewell Fishery is due to reopen on Saturday after a short closure to eradicate weed growth for the lake. After restocking with a good head of quality trout sport is likely to be excellent.
Don’t forget here is also the Fun Fishing Lake for the younger anglers and the chance to visit the otter via prearrange appointment. Hope to see as many as possible on August 31st for my book signing event see details at bottom of page.
Pauline Chard from Ilfracombe’s High Street Tackle visited Blakewell Fishery to learn the art of Fly Fishing. Keen to catch bass on the fly she decided on a trip to Blakewell where she could practice on the hard fighting rainbows that reside with the calm waters. After achieving success I am sure she will return to Blakewell and go onto tempt those silver bass from the estuary.
The warm summer evenings are ideal for spending at Blakewell casting a dry fly. The venue also offers Fun Fishing for Junior anglers and a superb tea room beside the stock ponds to enjoy a slice of tea and cake!
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club Members assembled at Blakewell Fishery the lake looking stunning with fresh green foliage forming a stunning back drop. Members elected to opt for the sporting ticket allowing two fish to be retained before continuing on a catch and release basis.
The competition was run on the first two fish caught.
1st – Colin Combe – 3lb 9oz
2nd – David Eldred – 3lb 7oz
3rd – Nigel Bird – 3lb 5oz
4th – Andre Muxworthy – 2lb 10oz
5th – Wayne Thomas 2lb 4oz
Small imitative patterns worked well in the clear water and bright sunshine with all members catching their allotted brace and then enjoying some exciting catch and release sport. From mid may until the end of June the English countryside is at its very best with everything a vivid green with bird and pond life flourishing all around.
Its business as usual at Blakewell Fishery that has just reopened after closing for essential maintenance. The road closure does not impact upon access to the fishery where anglers are enjoying sport with hard fighting rainbows with plenty of quality trout between 3lb and 5lb.
The lake is not the only restocking to have taken place the tackle shop has also seen a restocking with plenty of tackle to tempt the visiting angler.
Above – Blakewell’s well stocked tackle store.
A smiling angler and typical Blakewell rainbow.
Purchase a fishing ticket in July or August & you can come back as often as you like until you have reached your bag limit! That’s right, so if you purchase say a 5 fish ticket you can keep coming back through July & August until you have caught your 5 fish… Bargain!